By Duane Ranger
Ebenezer trainers, Gavin and Kay Crone, will head interstate at the end of the month to campaign three horses in Victoria - one of which was a $400 purchase from a sale in Echuca earlier this year.
The couple have a reputation for getting broken down or unwanted horses up and running – and then winning with them. Princess Katerina is one such horse, who as Crone (Gavin) put it:
“We saved her from being a hack. She is a little thing and also had a few issues, but we have taken our time with her and things are working out.”
The Crones bought the 6-year-old Armbro Variable mare in January and have now won two races and placed four times from 10 starts with her. Fourth was her best in 10 Victorian starts between August 2015 and December 4 2018.
Princess Katerina will be a float-mate for the talented 2yo trotter, Indefensible. She is also by Armbro Variable and was bred by Crone’s brother Darryl in Victoria.
“He’s the main reason I’m going. Princess Katerina and Indefensible will line up at Stawell on September 1. Indefensible has only had three races since his debut third at Albion Park on July 9. Adam Richardson has driven him in all three of those Albion Park starts,” Crone said.
Since his debut, Indefensible ran second on July 23, and then he was a decisive winner last Friday (August 2) in the $15,000 Stallions Australasia Springboard 2yo Trotters Final.
"He's a later bloomer and missed all the good races early on, but he’s been a real surprise package. He doesn't do much at home but then seems to grow a leg on race-day. We will have a go at the Vicbred Bonuses with him next month. If he wins, he will get the stake plus $8,000 so it's worth a trip.
"We will probably go for three or four weeks. It’s a working holiday. We will stay and enjoy it if we are doing well. If we are getting our bums kicked then we could be home sooner rather than later," Crone said.
He said Majestic Son 8-year-old mare, Majestic Whiz, would take on the maiden trotters, while Princess Katerina is nicely assessed and is also eligible for some some Victorian-bred bonus races as well.
Crone, who works a team of 15, said his barn was a family operation comprising husband, wife, son Matthew, daughter Samantha, and her partner Roy Forbes.
“It’s a family stable. Kay is the real trainer. I just do as I’m told. We all love what we do. This is all I have done. I love the trotters. It’s a heredity thing really.
“My father (George) and step-grandfather, Bob Wedge, both had horses. It’s all I’ve known. I’ve had some real nice ones over the years. Forgotten Hero (20 wins) and Cool Fury (16 wins) are two that spring to mind. I sold the latter to the United States and she did well over there,” the 51-year-old said.
He said the 2004 New South Wales Trotters Oaks with Chocolate Girl was a memorable win.
As for Indefensible, Crone said it was wait and see time.
“He’s already surprised me heaps with his last-start win, and the way he sprinted his last quarter. That really impressed me,” Crone said.
Indefensible trotted the 1,628m stand in 2:09.1 (mile rate 2:07.6) and his sectionals were: 35.1, 32.5, 30.1, and 28.9.
The bay gelding had 2.5 metres to spare over the Tim Gillespie trained and driven Shegotsass.